3 weeks ago

Top four found at Celebration Box Netball NZ U18 Champs

Adaptability – in both playing conditions and playing styles – will be key for the top four teams still gunning for the Celebration Box Netball NZ U18 Champs title.

Christchurch A Red, Wellington A Black, Hamilton City A and Waitakere 2 have their eye on the Margaret Forsyth Cup after reaching the semi-finals of the national tournament at Hagley Park in Christchurch.

A new name will be etched on the spoils after hosts Christchurch Red accounted for the defending champion Auckland 1 (32-29) in difficult conditions on Wednesday and Netball New Zealand Emerging Talent Selector Robin Manihera said it would be the team which could adjust at the business end of the championships that would find success.

“It’s four different playing styles in those semi-finals and it really will be about the team that can adapt to those styles and adjust to the weather conditions.  The weather can be a great leveller although teams have shown they are still going for it and letting the ball go, despite the conditions,” Manihera said.

“The bodies are holding together after a long tournament, but it will be the side that can bring their brains into the game who are going to do well when it comes down to the nitty-gritty.”

Manihera said they were in for an exciting fourth day across the board with plenty of evenly matched games to determine final placings.

Christchurch Red, who had earlier beaten their sister team Christchurch Black for a spot in the quarter-finals, held their nerve in a tense encounter against a tough Auckland side.

They led by just one goal at half-time and two goals with one stanza to play – maintaining their composure in front of a home crowd to win by three and earn a semi-final clash against Hamilton City A.

The Hamilton side beat Selwyn 55-13 in post pool play to progress to the quarter-finals where they weathered an early challenge from Howick Pakuranga before pulling away to win 42-12.

The other semi-final will see Wellington Black A take on Waitakere 2 which upset their number one team to reach the top four.

Wellington Black had earlier beaten Hawke’s Bay 34-18 and was made to work hard against Invercargill, eventually winning 33-27 to progress to Thursday’s play-offs.

With nothing to lose against Waitakere 1, the number two team earned its place in the semi-finals with a tense 33-29 win.  They had earlier beaten Manawatu Green 42-30 to reach the top eight.

The semi-finals begin at Hagley Park at 10.25 am while the final of the Celebration Box Netball NZ U18 Champs will be played at 2.45 pm.
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